Florida homeowner faces up to $1,000 in fines for early holiday light display

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Florida homeowner faces up to $1,000 in fines for early holiday light display

Christmas can apparently come too early.

A Florida homeowner is facing up to $1,000 in fines for putting up his family’s holiday lights too early — but he has no plans of dimming his seasonal spirit.

Michael Moffa is facing potential penalties of up $100 per day and a max of $1,000 if he doesn’t remove the colorful Christmas lights and blue and white menorah outside his home in Westchase, WFLA reported.

Moffa’s family hired a company to put up the lights on Nov. 6 — less than a week after Halloween, he told the station.

“That was their only availability, and I can’t climb up on the roof,” he said. “With the holidays and the pandemic, I think the kids wanted something that’s a little bit more bright to look it.”

But not everyone was feeling the early Christmas spirit, as Moffa learned when he received a letter from his homeowners’ association threatening the fines if the lights didn’t come down, WFLA reported.

The flickering display and other holiday decorations aren’t allowed until Thanksgiving, according to the letter Moffa shared with the station.

“Right before Christmas, merry Christmas to us,” he joked. “I mean, who could [be] a Grinch to send this out?”

An attorney for the homeowners’ group, Westchase Community Association, said a neighbor took issue with Moffa’s display.

“Which led the community manager to investigate it,” attorney Jonathan Ellis said. “One of the things they’re preventing is the person that has the holiday lights up all year-round or things along those lines.”

Holiday lights Florida
Moffa also included Hanukkah lights in the display.
News Channel 8 Tampa/WFLA

A message seeking comment from Westchase Community Association wasn’t returned Friday, but its board is open to discussing a change in the policy if enough community members support of such a move, Ellis told WFLA.

As a possible solution, Moffa said he suggested he would keep the lights off until Thanksgiving, but the homeowners’ association has not been receptive to that idea, the station reported.

“So, we gotta take our lights down, which we are not going to do,” Moffa said.

Christmas lights Florida
Moffa is facing potential penalties of up $100 per day and a max of $1,000 if he doesn’t remove the colorful Christmas lights.
News Channel 8 Tampa/WFLA

Singer Mariah Carey, meanwhile, offered her take on Moffa’s unnamed Scrooge after declaring Nov. 1 as the start of the Christmas season, which led Guinness World Records to claim it set a new mark for the earliest celebration of the holiday.

“My personal preference is to wait until after Thanksgiving but there’s no regulating festiveness!!!” Carey tweeted to her 21.6 million followers Thursday in response to a news station asking her take.

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